Backup time! If you never had to face data loss, that doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen – you’re just one of those who got lucky… so far. Obviously, you could also be one of those who backup their data properly, so only if the entire planet would blow up you may lose your precious bits…
… but we’ll keep the Apocalypse out of question today, all right? Sometimes, backup programs can do much more than just help you keep your vital information safe, and Almeza MultiSet Enterprise, today’s subject, seems to be one of those programs. Don’t worry about the “Enterprise” part – its price doesn’t require a bank loan, while most of its features can be of use to the average home user, so let’s get to it, shall we?
What I have here is the demo of Almeza MultiSet Enterprise 7.8.6, a demo with the following restrictions: 30-day usage limit, no support, no nag screen and no functional limitations (the unregistered version can only install up to seven programs and can’t create bootable Windows/software unattended installation CDs/DVDs). According to the official FAQ page, this program works with a lot of Windows operating systems, starting with Windows 98 and going as far as Windows 7, so we can go as far as saying that it works with “all Windows versions,” right?
The setup package has 6.8 MB in size and there are no special requirements, as long as your computer is good enough to run the Windows version installed on it. Installing Almeza MultiSet Enterprise is really easy, without anything to give you headaches, such as toolbars or spyware. All you need is 13.5 MB of free disk space and a few minutes to get things moving – it could be less than a minute as well, depends a lot on the speed of your computer and Internet connection, of course.
To be honest, I am not crazy about the layout of this program’s main window, but I must admit that most of the graphics look great, while the wizards can help beginners get the job done quick and without headaches. More than that, Almeza MultiSet Enterprise is available in over 20 languages and its documentation is very good, so there’s nothing really wrong with this program’s look & feel. Great, this means we can move to the good stuff – creating unattended Windows/software installation packages!
Basically, Almeza MultiSet Enterprise is all about allowing you to escape boring work like installation of the same programs over and over again, something that usually occurs when you’re in charge of a network in a company or working in a computer repair shop/service department. Fortunately, this program allows you to do much more than just creating unattended software installation packages, since it goes as far as allowing you to create a fully loaded Windows boot DVD, for example. I know some may say that there’s no big difference between Almeza MultiSet Enterprise and tools that allow you to record drive images and restore as needed, together with the installed programs and the operating system. I agree that this may be true, but we’re not interested in alternatives to the program we have here – it’s only about its features, and nothing more!
After starting the program for the first time and escaping that nag screen you’ll face every time you start it, you can see an intro consisting of 4 screens that say it all: Almeza MultiSet Enterprise allows you to prepare bootable discs containing a Windows operating system and all the software you need to get the job done, no matter what that job may be. In theory, it seems a pretty straightforward task. Practice may be a bit different, since some tasks aren’t as easy as they supposed to be.
For example, let’s take a minor setting – choosing the interface Language. Obviously, you can do this from the Options window. Unfortunately, the Options window can be accessed via the Service menu, not exactly as I expected but, to make it all even more confusing, you can also open the View menu and click on Language… – you’ll end up in the same place. Well, at least you can simply press Ctrl+O and forget about the menus!
When it comes to creating a bootable USB drive, Almeza MultiSet Enterprise has a wizard that offers four possible choices: Windows drive, Windows and applications, Windows PE drive and, finally, a drive with MultiSet that can be used to automatically install software packages on computers that already run Windows. Needless to say that all popular Windows versions are supported, including 7. Awesome!
If you want to create a CD/DVD, you have three options – an installation CD/DVD for entire software packages (the result is a setup kit for the whole package, but you can copy it to a CD/DVD to be automatically run when needed), an installation kit for Windows (about the same thing as above) and, at last, exactly what you were probably expecting already – a package containing both Windows and a bunch of programs you need installed. Pretty cool, don’t you think?
At last, let me say that you can’t use the unregistered version to get some serious work done, yet you can get an idea of what and how can be done. After all, you can’t expect to get all the features of such a valuable software available in its trial version, right?
Tips & Tricks
1. For some, this may seem like a no-brainer, but I think it needs to be said: when using USB drives as boot devices, be sure you really get fast ones!
2. Somehow contrary to the above, be sure to burn CDs/DVDs using the lowest possible speed to achieve best reading speed and reliability.
3. If you think the price of a license is too much for your pockets, you may consider purchasing one together with your friends – they will surely enjoy having their favorite programs available for a quick install, not to mention how useful can be a Windows PE bootable USB stick!
As far as I can tell, Almeza MultiSet Enterprise 7.8 doesn’t have too many competitors and, after all, that doesn’t really matter, since this program looks good, its documentation is well done, multilanguage support is also great, works well and compatibility with Microsoft’s popular operating systems is very good.
A trial version with less limitations would be great, not to mention the fact that the interface and documentation can be improved a lot.
I am sure that only a few average computer users will dare to approach Almeza MultiSet Enterprise, but those who will do that will be greatly rewarded, no doubt about it. Other than that… see the screenshots below or, even better, take this software for a spin yourselves. That’s all, folks!